Category Archives: Community Health Centers

A rural health system can be our model

I love our rural communities. You don’t have to convince them to work together. The people are smart, work hard, and know the value of a dollar. And they can smell a skunk a mile away.

“The only constant is change” is probably the best description of our ‘new normal’ in healthcare. Decreasing inpatient volumes, hospital layoffs, declining reimbursements, mergers and affiliations. Who saw this coming? Clearly, incremental improvements to old processes is no longer “leadership.” I think our rural health system has some distinct advantages that we can learn from.

Rural communities are used to pulling together out of necessity. The local Critical Access Hospital (CAH) already supplies some of the best paying and most stable jobs in town. More importantly, it’s home. My father-in-law had to drive 25 miles to get to his CAH; trying to convince him to go 50 miles the other direction for that ‘big city’ hospital was a waste of time.

So a quality, post-discharge, patient care plan is a plausible goal. Formalizing the integration is work, but not unrealistic. Start with something simple, like HIPPA. Who needs to know what to achieve this quality patient care plan. Suddenly you’ve identified the players and defined the responsibilities. And, since it’s rural, everybody has a right to participate. Federally qualified health centers (FQHCs), rural health clinics (RHCs), community health centers (CHCs), DENTISTS (personal bias), WIC clinics, skilled nursing homes, home health agencies, faith-based organizations, and Telehealth (since most CAHs can’t provide 24×7 pharmacy services).

A review process is important for quality assurance and continuous performance improvement, which will lead to ‘discussions’ about costs and reimbursements. But there’s already one CAH/FQHC collaboration success story (Sakakawea Medical Center and Coal Country Community Health Center in N.D.), so it can be accomplished!

And once those ‘yokels’ make it work, then what’s our excuse?

U.S. News 100 Best Jobs: 38 are Healthcare (7 of top 10)

Healthcare, not surprisingly, is the top field to pursue according to the U.S. News 100 Best Jobs of 2014 report.

This is not a Highest Demand Jobs list. The rankings are based on the number of projected number of openings (through 2022), balanced by their advancement opportunities, career fulfillment and salary expectations.

Since most of these positions can be found in any size organization, from large hospital systems to critical care hospitals, community health centers and private practice settings, people have a plethora of opportunities to find the right fit for their personality.

38 of the professions are in healthcare, and they’re skewed to the top of the list!

#3     Dentist
#4     Nurse Practitioner
#5     Pharmacist
#6     Registered Nurse
#7     Physical Therapist
#8     Physician
#10   Dental Hygienist
#13   Physician Assistant
#14   Occupational Therapist
#16   Phlebotomist
#17   Physical Therapy Assistant
#21   Occupational Therapy Assistant
#22   Clinical Lab Technician
#25   Dietitian and Nutritionist
#26   Diagnostic Medical Sonographer
#27   Massage Therapist

For the full list:

New York’s I-STOP is curbing prescription drug abuse!

New York’s Internet System for Tracking Over-Prescribing (I-STOP) is a national model for curbing prescription drug abuse, the nation’s fastest-growing drug problem.

I-STOPs positive effects are huge, from identifying drug abuse and stopping crime, to reducing healthcare costs. And it’s available for telemedicine providers, community health centers and hospital emergency rooms which have no viable alternatives.

Since August 2013 New York doctors have been required to consult the I-STOP database before writing any Schedule II, III, or IV controlled substance prescriptions (includes narcotic painkillers). Result: over 7 million individual prescription checks on nearly 3 million separate patients have been run. In March 2015 New York doctors will be required to consult the I-STOP database for all drugs.

Read more: AG Schneiderman Applauds Success Of New York’s Innovative Program To Prevent Prescription Drug Abuse

Are you thankful for anything specific in the ACA?

On this Christmas Eve and I wanted to find something to be thankful for about the ACA. Community health centers (CHC), and critical access hospitals (CAH), are the backbone of our country’s incredible healthcare system. In 2011 the Bush administration expanded this safety net to 1,250 CHCs serving 20 million people. Obamacare’s ACA is further expanding the CHC program to serve 40 million in 2016. I am thankful for this very good thing.

Are you thankful for anything specific in the ACA?

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